Have you ever been searching for a good hairdresser or a certain kind of shoe online and when you clicked on the company webpage link, you were brought to an antiquated and aesthetically displeasing website that seemed to be stuck in the past? We can assume you didn’t stay on that website long, right?
A company’s website speaks volumes about how it values its customers' time and needs. If I click on a company page that is outdated, not mobile-friendly or responsive, I don’t even consider doing business with the company. This goes for aesthetics as well as function. Both are important to how the user perceives the brand, this affecting how they feel about a product or service. Businesses need to pay attention to the environment shoppers dwell in to stay competitive. The webpage experience can make or break not only an online sale but an in-person one too. Here are a few musts for your website to keep it optimized for today’s customers and why they’re important.
Make it mobile-friendly
Intuitively, we know that making a website optimized for mobile is incredibly important. No one wants to attempt to navigate a desktop site on a smartphone. And statistically, it’s shown to be imperative too. According to Outberbox, 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months. In addition, 80% of shoppers used a mobile phone inside of a physical store to either look up product reviews, compare prices or find alternative store locations. This displays the power of mobile. Without a mobile-optimized site design, you could disincentivize an online purchase online and in your store. If they’re pinching and zooming to simply read your site on their smartphone, you’re going to frustrate them and lose their attention quickly. You could have the best product, but if your website prohibits the user from realizing that, then you might as well have a bad product.
Keep it aesthetically pleasing
This is also imperative considering how image-focused we are because of social media. We want to be impressed and emotionally drawn to content, including a business website. When the aesthetic is impressive, we are more likely to explore and later trust a brand. This means being consistent with font, colors and layout. Probably the No. 1 way to lose a user with your design — and you’ve probably experienced this once yourself — is by layering text over a color that makes the copy impossible to read (we’re looking at you, yellow-on-white). You also don’t want your site to be cluttered. Keep things spacious and organized.
Have easy navigation and usability
Users shouldn’t have to try to use or navigate your site. You should design your page to meet the needs of your target audience — from search bars to subpages. The usability of your site is tied to SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. When your site has qualities that increase its relevance to users — like good content and strong architecture — it is given higher priority, which helps place your site above the competition in search engines, thus increasing its visibility. If a website is too hard to navigate, not intuitively designed or too slow, your site could become less visible. Even if people do make it to your site, if it’s too difficult to click through, they may leave, return to the search engine and click on the next website they see, taking their business to a competitor whose site lets them effortlessly explore their products and services.
Offer valuable content
Always, always, always add value. This one goes hand-in-hand with your site aesthetics and organization. Divide your content into sections — products, mission statement, FAQs — to make navigating easier for users. By organizing your site to make information accessible and by addressing users' questions with solutions, you’re adding value to your site. This helps demonstrate command of your industry and further establish trust with the user in addition to boosting your SEO ranking.
At the end of the day, you need to add value and give it away in the fewest steps possible. This will help you not only convert sales online, but also in stores.
Story By: Kris Martins